Duncan Cabassi

Current Role – Senior Project Manager for Operations and Maintenance in the Mining sector.

I grew up on a sugar Cane farm near Mackay, Central Queensland. Did my apprenticeship as a boilermaker at one of the local sugar mills and then have worked in the mining sector for the last 35 years. I’ve worked my way up through the management structure and have a portfolio of project management experience. Predominantly in coal but in the last few years have dabbled in Iron ore, tungsten, gold and silver mining projects across the world.

My love of railroads began when I was about 4 Yro. I can remember as a 4 year old (at least that how old my mum reckons I was) standing on the back steps of the farm house very early in the morning watching the steam engines with empties and loads of sugar cane crossing the trestle bridge that was about 300m from our house.

I started model railroads with a Hornby OO train set but fell in love with the American prototype at a very early age, when my dad brought me home from his visit to the USA a HO Athearn F7. It was at that moment that I was off and running on a love of model railroading that has not changed in 45 + years.

In my teens I met a police officer who was a model railroader. We built a friendship and Reg mentored me in the many skills of this hobby as well as converting me to N scale, the rest is history.

I’ve built 3 Model Railroads in my life. The first being based on the N Scale Clinchfield series that was run in Model railroading in the late 70’s. I expanded this layout and opened it up so there was no duck under. Then after about 8 years of operation I relocated due to a career change. The layout was relocated with me as it was built in modules however I now had a larger space, so the layout was reconfigured and expanded (Layout 2).

Again, due to another career relocation, I had to dismantle layout 2. This time I was in my 40’s and I was old enough and experienced enough to determine what it was I wanted in a layout. I’m into operations so I designed a new layout based on my specific requirements. This layout continues to be expanded today and provides immense satisfaction to not only myself but the 20 plus operators that operate on it bi-monthly.

I’ve only been an NMRA member for a short time, however I’ve been impressed with what the NMRA has to offer the broader Model Railroading community. It is a leading volunteer organisation that offers standards, fellowship, skills training, tools and a network that reaches out across the world. I look forward to promoting and progressing this wonderful hobby.